ERIC Number: ED214892
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
A Question of Access: Tracking and Curriculum Differentiation in a National Sample of English and Mathematics Classes. A Study of Schooling in the United States. Technical Report Series, No. 24.
Classroom variables and student track levels were studied to determine the impact of tracking and the resulting differences in student educational experiences. A secondary analysis of nationwide data collected for "A Study of Schooling" was used in an analysis of the classroom experiences of students in 297 secondary school English and mathematics classes. The investigation focused on how track levels differed in three major aspects of daily classroom life (curricular content, instructional practice, social relationships and interactions) and in selected student attitudes. Tracked classes were compared with heterogeneous classes on the same dimensions. An uneven racial distribution was found among tracks, particularly in schools where minority students were poor. The data analysis indicated that education in the schools studied was not available to all on an equal basis. Low track students were least likely to experience the quantity and quality of instruction associated with achievement. Teacher student relationships and other classroom interactions in low track classes focused on punitive and negative expressions, with low levels of peer esteem and high levels of class dissonance. Although low track students were as satisfied with their schools as their high track peers, they had the lowest self esteem, leading to the supposition that school processes contribute to societal inequalities. Heterogeneous classes were considerably more advantaged in terms of classroom content and processes than many of the average and nearly all of the low track classes, further supporting the theory of cultural reproduction. Sixty tables present study results, distributions, and classifications, and appendices present classroom learning environment scales, supplementary findings, and the degree of student satisfaction in the four samples. (FG)
Descriptors: Ability Grouping, Academic Achievement, Classroom Environment, Educational Quality, Educational Status Comparison, Educationally Disadvantaged, English Instruction, Equal Education, Racial Factors, Secondary Education, Secondary School Mathematics, Secondary School Students, Self Esteem, Socioeconomic Status, Student Attitudes, Student Needs, Student Placement, Track System (Education)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Institute for Development of Educational Activities, Dayton, OH.; Carnegie Corp. of New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Graduate School of Education